Land leases to solar companies increase income for pastoralists


Kimberly Hagen, a pasture specialist at the University of Vermont, told Energy News Network in 2019 that she was frequently asked about the compatibility of solar installations and livestock.

“I have had three owners of solar installations interested in grazing sheep among their panels, but the bottleneck is that there are not many shepherds with a flock of sheep that they are willing to. transport by truck, ”she said in a 2019 article.

As this revenue stream continues to grow, landowners must approach the discussion with an understanding of solar leases. The National Agricultural Law Center, based at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, has published a “Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing,” written by Peggy Hall, Evin Bachelor and Eric Romich of Ohio State University Extension.

Although the guide was written specifically for Ohio, the information is relevant across the United States. However, it is always recommended that landowners work with a state attorney, as legal issues can be state specific.


1. What is the solar potential of your land? This is based on the Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) metric, proximity to transmission infrastructure, and the physical qualities of the properties, including level soil, good drainage, minimal zoning issues, and no obstruction. shady.

2. Will a solar panel damage the land? A solar power development will turn your property into a construction zone for a period of time, disturbing the soil, damaging the land tiles and creating noise. Heavy equipment will cross your land.

3. What happens to the land after development is complete? The upkeep of these solar projects must be scheduled, and with that will come the need for continued access to your property.

4. Are there any special issues if I plan to raise livestock under the panels? Considering the size of the cattle, it was determined during the construction of a solar panel in Maple Ridge Meats, Vermont that the support poles needed to be stronger and sunk deeper into the ground. The panels have been raised at least 3 feet to allow clearance for animals. Small ruminants like sheep did not need these adaptations.

Editor’s Note: The “Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing” can be found at….

Victoria Myers can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @myersPF


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